Foods, Uncategorized

Homemade Marshmallows

marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

 

Vegetarian Marshmallows

 

(from U of Indiana)

 

This recipe uses agar agar, which is vegetarian, instead of gelatin. If you want to use gelatin, use 4t of gelatin for every 1 t of agar agar (2T for this recipe).

 

Finally, my boys can have marshmallow treats… and they’re better than store bought! Substitute vanilla with candy oils (peppermint is my favorite) and add food coloring for a nice touch. You can make whatever shapes you want: I like snowflakes for Christmas! They keep for over a week in Tupperware. The longer you have them, the crunchier they get, making them perfect for hot cocoa.

 

1 1/2 t. agar

 

1 t. pure vanilla extract

 

1 1/2 C sugar vegetable-oil cooking spray

 

2/3 C light corn syrup

 

1/8 t. salt corn starch

 

Coat a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.

 

Place 1/3 C cold water into bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle with agar agar. Let mixture soften for 5 minutes.

 

Place sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 C water in small to medium saucepan (if you use to large of a saucepan, the thermometer will not be covered by mixture). Cover. Bring to a boil. Remove lid. Cook, swirling occasionally until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage) (~5 minutes).

 

With mixer on low speed, whisk agar mixture while slowly adding syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase mixer to high. Beat until mixture is thick, white and has almost tripled in volume (~ 12 minutes). Add vanilla (or other flavoring/food coloring) and beat 30 seconds more.

 

Pour mixture into baking sheet and smooth with spatula sprayed with cooking oil. Let sit (uncovered) overnight.

 

Cut out with cookie cutters or cut with kitchen scissors, sprayed with cooking oil. Roll marshmallows in corn starch to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in air tight container, with wax paper between layers.

 

Happy Holidays

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Uncategorized

Fill Up With Walnuts

canwalnutsfeelfull

Walnuts Can Help Fill You Up

 

Research from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reveals that consuming walnuts affects a brain area that regulates hunger and cravings. This finding emerged from a study of 10 obese volunteers who spent two 5-day sessions in the hospital’s Clinical Research Center. During one of these sessions, the participants drank daily smoothies containing 48 grams of walnuts. During their other stay, the smoothies tasted the same and were nutritionally identical but contained no walnuts. At the end of each session, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the volunteers’ brain activity while they viewed images of hamburgers, desserts and other desirable foods as well as neutral items such as flowers, rocks and foods considered less desirable. After drinking walnut smoothies, the images of desirable foods triggered increased activity in a brain area called the right insula, which helps regulate appetite. This activity was much less pronounced in the fMRI monitoring that followed consuming smoothies that were walnut-free. Neither participants nor researchers knew during which session the walnut smoothies were served. The volunteers also reported that they felt less hungry during the session they received the walnut-rich smoothies.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Eat Dark Chocolate and Olive Oil Together!

choc

Those with a high cardiovascular risk profile should eat dark chocolate with olive oil, new study finds

 

In recent years, the medical community has put a lot of effort into educating people about reducing their cholesterol levels in order to protect their heart health. Of course, those who do have elevated cholesterol levels are often prescribed statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and others to lower these levels. In fact, these are among the most prescribed drugs of all time.

 

Nonetheless, these toxic drugs carry serious side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, increased liver enzymes, asthma complications, and birth defects in pregnant women, to name just a few.

 

This doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t a healthy solution to reducing cholesterol levels naturally. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, a recent study has unlocked another key to taking care of your heart: eating dark chocolate and extra virgin olive oil together.

 

The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy, who presented the results at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in August, concluded that dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil can lead to improved heart health and a better cardiovascular risk profile.

 

“A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, and the lead author of the study. “Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil, and apples. Research has found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.”

 

The researchers set out to determine whether a combination of either dark chocolate and olive oil or dark chocolate and Panaia red apple might halt the progress of atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque on the artery walls, causing obstructed blood flow, and potentially a life-threatening blood clot) in otherwise healthy people with cardiovascular risk factors.

 

The ESC explained in a press release:

 

The randomised crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days it contained 10% extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple. The two types of chocolate were given in random order.

 

Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.

 

The researchers took urine and blood samples at the beginning of the study and again at the end. The urine samples were analyzed for endogenous metabolites using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and circulating EPC levels were evaluated with flow cytometry. Body mass index (BMI), blood pressure levels, smoking status, lipid profile and glycaemia, were also carefully monitored for all participants.

 

The results were quite astounding. At the end of the 28-day study, the researchers found that EPC levels were significantly increased after consumption of the olive oil-enriched chocolate. Carnitine and hippurate levels were considerably decreased – which is a good thing – both in comparison to baseline figures and to the apple-enriched chocolate.

 

Most encouragingly, consumption of the olive oil-enhanced chocolate resulted in significant increases in high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and sizable reductions in blood pressure levels. (Related: Olive oil antioxidant naturally kills all cancer cells tested within an hour.)

 

So, if like millions of others you’ve been advised to take steps to decrease your cholesterol levels, you now have a fantastic excuse to increase your consumption of delicious dark chocolate. Just make sure you take some pure virgin olive oil with it! Perhaps melt that chocolate in a little olive oil and pour over fresh strawberries? Yum

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Eat Real Butter

eatrealbutter

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings….

 

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

 

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

 

Both have the same amount of calories.

 

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.

 

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

 

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

 

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

 

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

 

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

 

And now, for Margarine..

 

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

 

Triples risk of coronary heart disease …

 

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

 

Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..

 

Lowers quality of breast milk

 

Decreases immune response.

 

Decreases insulin response.

 

And here’s the most disturbing fact… HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

 

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC… and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.

 

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

 

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

 

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

 

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

 

Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

 

 

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Can Eating Walnuts Lower Your Cholesterol?

walnuts

Can Eating Walnuts Help Lower Your Cholesterol?

You Only Need a Handful of Walnuts Each Day

 

Walnuts are not only good for cooking – they are healthy nuts that can also help your heart.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognizing the cholesterol-lowering properties of walnuts, accepted a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission in March 2004 to list the health claim that walnuts can aid in reducing cholesterol levels on product labels.

 

The discovery of the benefits of walnuts come from many clinical studies performed by various research institutions all over the world.

The results show consuming walnuts is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.

Walnuts are also noted for reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation.

 

Walnuts Are Heart-Healthy

Walnuts demonstrate heart-healthy benefits due to the presence of high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.

 

Omega-3-fatty acids reduce triglycerides levels and slightly reduce LDL levels (low-density lipoproteins, also know as the bad cholesterol). In fact, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3-fatty acids in 1 ounce of nuts (i.e. one handful) in comparison to other nuts (2.5 g of omega-3-fatty acids versus less than 0.5 g found in other nuts).

 

Phytosterols appear to slightly lower LDL cholesterol levels, however, the mechanism by which it does this is not entirely known.

In addition to heart-healthy ingredients, walnuts also contain a wealth of other nutrients, including vitamin E, the B vitamins, fiber, and several minerals.

 

Lower Your Cholesterol with Walnuts

Many studies on walnuts suggest that you only need to consume a handful of walnuts each day to receive the cholesterol-lowering benefits of these tree nuts.

 

The FDA agrees with this health claim, which will be on every bag of walnuts you purchase and will state the following: “supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

 

The Proof Walnuts Lower Cholesterol

 

Many studies indicate the usefulness of walnuts in reducing cholesterol levels. Some of the most important include:

 

The first study involving the benefits of walnuts was from Loma Linda University in 1993. This study revealed a controlled diet containing walnuts reduced LDL cholesterol significantly in comparison to the Step One diet produced by the American Heart Association. The controlled diet was a modified version of the Step One diet, with the exception that walnuts replaced the fatty acid portion in the diet.

A Harvard study outlining the benefits of nuts concluded that high dietary nut consumption decreased the risk of sudden cardiac death in 2002. In addition to this, many studies have elucidated the benefits of consuming walnuts and other omega-3 fatty acid-containing foods, citing that consuming high amounts of these products reduced the risk of stroke and clogging of arteries.

The bottom line is that walnuts are a healthy snack packed with important nutrients that can help keep cholesterol levels — and your heart — healthy. It’s amazing that most studies have shown that it takes only one handful daily to achieve this beneficial effect.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Foods For Your Brain

brain

Top Six Foods for Your Brain

That said, let’s return to the topic at hand. These are my top picks when it comes to foods that nourish your brain, heart, gut, muscles, immune system and more. Can you boost your brainpower with the foods you eat? You bet. Topping the list of brain-boosting superfoods are foods high in healthy fats. This should come as no surprise considering your brain is mainly made up of fats.

 

  1. Avocados are a great source of healthy oleic acid (monounsaturated fat, which is also found in olive oil), which helps decrease inflammation.1 Avocados have also been shown to effectively combat nearly every aspect of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor of dementia and most other chronic disease. Aside from providing healthy fats, avocados also provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including potassium, which helps balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.

 

  1. Organic coconut oil. Besides being excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism, its medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) are a source of ketone bodies, which act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia. MCTs also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body’s metabolism and fighting off pathogens.

 

  1. Grass fed butter and ghee. About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are used right away for quick energy and therefore don’t contribute to fat levels in your blood. Therefore, a significant portion of the butter you consume is used immediately for energy, similar to a carbohydrate. Ghee, which has a higher smoke point than butter, is a healthy fat particularly well-suited for cooking. It also has a longer shelf life.

 

  1. Organic pastured eggs. Many of the healthiest foods are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, and eggs are no exception. Cholesterol is needed for the regulation of protein pathways involved in cell signaling and other cellular processes. It’s particularly important for your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body.

 

It is vital for synapse formation, i.e., the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things and form memories. For a simple snack, see this healthy deviled egg recipe.

 

  1. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon. While most fish suffer drawbacks related to contamination, wild-caught Alaskan salmon and other small, fatty fish, such as sardines and anchovies, are still noteworthy for their health benefits in light of their low risk of contamination.

 

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon and other oily fish are high in omega-3 fats necessary for optimal brain (and heart) health. Research2 also suggests eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your life span. Avoid farmed salmon, however, as they’ve been identified as one of the most toxic foods in the world. For tips on how to cook salmon steaks, see this salmon cooking guide.

 

  1. Organic raw nuts such as macadamia and pecans. Macadamia nuts have the highest fat and lowest protein and carb content of any nut, and about 60 percent of the fat is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is about the level found in olives, which are well-known for their health benefits.

 

A single serving of macadamia nuts also provides 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin. Pecans are a close second to macadamia nuts on the fat and protein scale, and they also contain anti-inflammatory magnesium, heart healthy oleic acid, phenolic antioxidants and immune-boosting manganese.

If you need help with what foods to eat and not eat with other medications you are taking, please give us a call.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Holiday Green Bean Casserole

Elegant-Green-Beans_EXPS_TGCBBZ17_31193_D05_03_3b

ELEGANT GREEN BEANS RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 small onion, chopped

1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

6 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( I use coconut flour)

1 cup 2% milk ( I use less than ½ c)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Dash salt

1 package (16 ounces) frozen French-style green beans, thawed

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( Philadelphia cream cheese is good)

1 cup crushed French-fried onions

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small skillet, saute water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside.

In large skillet, melt remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Stir in milk, broth, soy sauce, pepper sauce and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in green beans and cheese.

Spoon half of the bean mixture into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Layer with water chestnut mixture and remaining bean mixture.

Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Top with French-fried onions. Bake 5 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

3/4 cup: 218 calories, 15g fat (8g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Pumpkin Pie

pumpkinpie

Pumpkin Pie

 

This is a great recipe !  It does not contain the evaporated milk, or corn syrup that most have in them.

This is made with Maple Syrup

 

INGREDIENTS

1 can (16 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 eggs

1 unbaked pie shell (9 inches)

Whipped cream, optional

 

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except last two. Pour into the pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

1 piece: 308 calories, 11g fat (5g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 148mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (32g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet-Potato-Casserole_EXPS_TGCBBZ_3234_D05_10_1b

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

CASSEROLE:

2-1/4 to 2-1/2 pounds (about 4 cups) sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten ( adding protein is smart when you use sugar)

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute

TOPPING:

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Spread into a greased 1-1/2-qt. casserole. For topping, combine all ingredients and sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

 

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